Double delight for Davies at Imola
Chaz’s double win sends Imola Ducati fans crazy
If Carlsberg did race weekends, Chaz Davies would own the brewery. The 30-year-old Welshman dominated the Imola WSB race weekend, securing pole position, two clear race wins and a new lap record to boot.
And he did all this under the noses of Ducati’s bigwigs, Claudio Domenicali, Ducati’s CEO and Gigi Dall’igna, the boss of Ducati Corse.
Even Ducati’s World Superbike boss, Ernesto Marinelli, who has worked with most of Ducati’s greats from Bostrom to Bayliss, Haga and Checa said that he was in awe of Davies’ ability to extract the absolute maximum out of his Panigale.
On the weekend, 75,000 passionate Italian fans piled into Imola for round five, and Davies delivered. On passing early race two leader Tom Sykes, right under the Ducati grandstand into the final chicane, the roar could probably have been heard in Bologna.
Davies put his sudden and untouchable success down to machine improvements found in testing and the very stop-and-go nature of Imola’s chicanes and hairpins.
“From Friday afternoon, I got a bit more feeling back in the front,” said Davies. “It seemed to just elevate us to a different level with the pace. I think that this track also plays to my strengths, and the bike is working really well off the tight parts of the track. Where there are tight firstgear chicanes I feel we have taken a step forward since Aragon with the punch of the engine. Here we were able to demonstrate exactly that strong point. It’s a combination of my style and the bike’s strengths that allow me to exploit all of it.”
He won race two from the third row of the grid and in doing so beat 2017 runaway series leader, Jonathan Rea.
The championship may be almost an impossible dream for Davies, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop pushing for race wins.
“Imola is an amazing race,” said Davies, who could not move for mobs of over-excited Italians. “The atmosphere here is like a natural amphitheatre, and a lot of people turn up. People are just lined up at the side of the track the whole way round. For me it does feel like a home race, being part of Ducati. But for every other rider you still get the buzz that WSB has missed for a while in other countries.
“In Spain it is pretty much dead, in the UK it’s not too bad but in Imola the buzz is still here. It is like we are in the mid-90s again – it’s awesome. And just coming out of the paddock last night going back to the hotel there are parties going on, people drunk, and it is quite nice. Everybody is not so regimented.
“It is not at all like it is in F1, where people say you cannot do this and cannot do that and everybody has to stay in a two million Euro motor home. You do not see that as clearly anywhere more than Italy. That is why it is so good.”
‘Racing at Imola is like racing in WSB in the mid-90s. There’s a real buzz!’ CHAZ DAVIES